Autism, Inc.: The Autism Industrial Complex

Document Type


Publication Date


Journal / Book Title

Journal of Disability Studies in Education


We contend that, within capitalism, the Autism Industrial Complex (AIC) produces both autism as commodity and the normative cultural logic of intervention in relation to it. Comprised of ideological/rhetorical as well as material/economic infrastructure, we argue that the AIC is not the myriad businesses and industries that capitalize and profit from it; rather, these constitute its epiphenomenal features. In the production of autism as commodity, the AIC also simultaneously produces that commodity’s market, its consumers, and its own monopoly control of that market through production for consumption of need for, consent to, and legitimacy of interventionist logics. Within this apparatus, almost anyone can capitalize on and profit from autism. And within the AIC, autistic people—their very bodies—function as the raw materials from which this industrial complex is built, even as autistic people—their very identities and selves—also become unwitting, and often unwilling, products of the AIC.


Published Citation

Broderick, A. A., & Roscigno, R. (2021). Autism, Inc.: The Autism Industrial Complex, Journal of Disability Studies in Education (published online ahead of print 2021). doi: